Don’t ya hate it?!!

Just when you think you have a good system in place it all crashes! I had planned a wonderful, elaborate, picture filled post of all of Michael’s pre-surgery dinner dishes and his birthday weekend. Well, my little camera decided it didn’t want to play anymore and refused to share the pictures with the computer, so here we are. We’ll just have to wing it!  Some of these photos are pre-camera crash and some archived.
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We worked our way through the pre-surgery dinner list and savored every fat laden bite! Probably the healthiest dinner we ate wasn’t healthy at all, grilled Steak Burgers . Ok, grilled is usually healthy, but burgers? At least I ground the meat myself, so we know what was in there.
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Next up, Michael’s all time favorite, Sauted Chicken Livers. Yuck!!! As I’ve said before, cooking those chicken livers for him is a real gift. I don’t like anything about them, even the way the house smells when the livers are long gone is bad.
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While Michael enjoyed his livers I played with a new sandwich recipe from a fellow WordPress.com blogger, Southern Abroad. She came up with a recipe for Grown Up Caprese Grilled Cheese that is absolutely decadent. I’m going to try to remember that one as a reward to myself the next time chicken livers are on Michael’s menu.
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Next on the list, Chicken Fingers with Buttermilk Gravy, another indulgent treat. I used to make these when the kids were small. They were always gobbled up faster than I could fry them. The chicken fingers lasted a little longer this time, (no kids), but not by much. If you try this recipe, make sure you have plenty of gravy for dipping and a pile of mashed potatoes along side.
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Michael really does have a sweet tooth, and one of his favorite breakfast items is my Ricotta Pancakes slathered in either real maple syrup or Fresh Blueberry Sauce. These pancakes freeze well and reheat in the microwave in a flash, so I usually try to keep some on hand.
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Another frequent breakfast item around this house is a simple Spinach and Cheese Omelet. We especially like these when breakfast is running a little late, more towards brunch. They are a good way to use up that last bit of spinach that didn’t make it into a House Salad. I often add mushrooms to these little omelets if I have those on hand. I saute the mushrooms in butter first and set them aside to add with the spinach.
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When you’re cooking for two, it’s always a good plan to avoid waste by using your ingredients in multiple recipes. Both the Fresh Ricotta Cheese for the pancakes and the spinach I used in the salads and omelets made another appearance in Calzones for Two. Somehow, I always over-stuff my calzones so they turn out looking more like a football than the pretty restaurant version. Who says “less is more”? Not me!
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And that brings us to the birthday weekend and my camera crash.
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Aaron, Jen, and Xander arrived rather late on Friday night. That evening I put together a “Berry Good” French Toast Bake to pop in the oven on Saturday morning. I love make ahead breakfast casseroles when I know a big day of entertaining lies ahead.
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Rather than the French bread the breakfast casserole called for I used Whey Bread and the texture was a bit firmer, but just right. I have always been bothered by throwing away the whey that’s left from making ricotta. This bread is a very flavorful and versatile use of that.  (And the last picture from my camera.)
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Michael’s birthday dinner was a Mexican Buffet. Surprised? Probably not! Here’s the menu:
Grilled Chicken Fajitas
Cheese Enchiladas, both red and green
Taco Seasoned Beef for tacos
Simple Refried Beans
Salsa Rice
and all the shells, sauces, and fixings, including Guacamole
We polished it all off with a Creamy Vanilla-Caramel Cheesecake.  Gosh, that was good!  Kaij and Kelton decorated it like a birthday cake, candles and all.
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Now, what do you buy a 67 year old man who has everything for his birthday? Lottery tickets! I drove up across the Tennessee state line and bought $67.00 worth of scratch off lottery tickets. Don’t take me wrong, we only do this for the entertainment value. We don’t bet the house payment thinking we’ll get rich. It just doesn’t happen that way. The anticipation of those scratch offs sure is fun though! And it didn’t hurt that Michael won over $100.00 this time. Happy Birthday!
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Sunday, Michael and Aaron had a project to work on and Kaij and Kelton had their own things to do, so Xander, Jen, and I were left to our own devices. What better to do than cook? Xander helped me bake a batch of Peanut Butter Cookies. That really is a no-fail recipe. I packaged some up for Xander to take home, but he forgot and left them here. Oh well, more for Michael!
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Michael has had his surgery and we’re in recovery mode now. Everything seems to be going well.
Be thankful for what life gives you.

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